Sunday, 23 September 2018


Named after a dragon king’s underwater palace in Japanese folklore, the target diamond-shaped asteroid 162173 Ryugu was visited by two small probes bounding over its low-gravity surface, deployed this weekend by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) space mission Hayabusa2, launched nearly four years ago.
The two small landers  will study and survey the surface in preparation for the arrival a third joint French and German engineered unit which will drill into the surface of the asteroid and collect a sample to return to Earth for study by 2020. The castle, according to legend was sought out by fisherman Urashima Tarō on the back of a sea turtle and returns (away for much longer than he expected or perceived) to shore with a mysterious box, much like the goals of Hayabusa2.

family values

The Republican politician and dentist representing the rural west of the state of Arizona in Congress since 2011 whose seat will be contested in the upcoming election, we learn via Cynical-C, does not enjoy the support of his siblings, who believe that their brother has not only seriously compromised the values that were part of their upbringing but is also no faithful servant of his constituency. 

The opposition campaign has attracted their support and endorsement in this rather (but justifiably) scathing political advertisement, where the identity of the critics is not revealed until the end. In rebuttal, the congress member said, “My siblings who chose to film ads against me are all liberal Democrats who hate President [sic] Trump. These disgruntled Hillary supporters are related by blood to me but like leftists everywhere, they put ideology before family. Stalin would be proud,” punctuating his statement with some appropriately repulsive but unsurprising hashtags.


Our thanks to Things Magazine for reintroducing us to an old obsession with a keen, juried resource that makes becoming wholly and irretrievably enticed too easy with an overview of number stations and the accompanying service Priyom (прием, reception) monitoring on all channels.
These high-frequency shortwave signals bounce off the Earth’s ionosphere (relatedly, here’s a secret Cold War undertaking to maintain vital communications in case of sabotage of undersea cables) of strings of formatted numbers are presumably for (since no one knows for sure aside from some anecdotal admissions) intelligence agencies to communicate with field operatives. I can remember turning the dial on an old multiband unit and coming across voices reciting random numbers and finding it a quite unaccountable let down (one mostly got static) until learning it might be an artefact of spycraft. I certainly didn’t have the luxury of an online directory and simulcast. Decoded at the receiving end with a single-use key, the messages relayed are pretty resistant to cryptological scrutiny (should one practise good housekeeping and not reuse codes) and this low technology way of passing information and instructions maintains a low profile. Check out the schedule of regularly reoccurring broadcasts at Priyom at the link above to “eavesdrop” on matters of world security or perhaps barge in on an ad hoc conversation.

welcoming autumn